Protection of people’s interests should be a major priority for the Belarusian economic system, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with senior officials of the Council of Ministers on 9 March.
The President decided to discuss a package of legal acts with members of the government and other participants of the meeting. In his words, the documents regulate a wide range of issues in important walks of life. “Therefore, before signing them, we need to make sure that the proposals are justified. Do we need them at all? Have all interested parties come to terms? Have the developers of these documents assessed all consequences?” the head of state wondered.
First of all, Aleksandr Lukashenko focused on the resolution of those issues which have the biggest impact on people. “This pertains to employees’ guarantees at financially unstable enterprises. This issue is long overdue. Of course, compromise is not an option. The entire economic system should absolutely prioritize people’s interests. There is no populism here,” the President said.
The head of state mentioned another pending issue which impedes the development of the society in a way. “We need stimuli and infrastructure for the collection, recycling and disposal of packaging,” he explained.
For example, the government sees the resolution in the introduction of a deposit-refund system for water bottles. “Some time ago I reiterated my requirement to everybody, first of all, to the executive power vertical: we need to learn what to do with waste, including cullet, polyethylene, etc.,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
As an example he mentioned Switzerland where many goods are made from recyclable materials. “Why can’t we do the same? Belarus is a small country, not as big as Russia, so we can collect and recycle wastes, can’t we? It is rather expensive to produce glass using traditional methods, recycling of old glass bottles is also an option,” he said. “Instead, we are waiting for the grass to grow, just like with this oil. And only then we will go to extreme lengths to find alternatives, come to agreements, and so on. There are easier ways to make money.”
According to the President, the government suggests bringing back old Soviet practices only in 2022. “All experts, including the Belarus President Administration, approved this decision. Well, that’s surprising,” the head of state said.
Apart from that, Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested discussing a number of proposals which “ensure the sustainable operation of certain industries and help maintain legality in them”. For example, the improvement of the system of the state monitoring of the technical condition of tractors, trailers, self-propelled vehicles and equipment. “You are familiar with my requirements concerning life safety and maintenance of equipment. Mishandling of high-tech equipment, especially to those vehicles which were purchased using state support, is inadmissible. But the main thing is that properly functioning vehicles are a guarantee of people’s safety,” the President emphasized.
In his words, it is a crime when expensive equipment is put on the scrapheap after two years. “This is inadmissible. We don’t need any market-driven arguments here. Private companies know what they are doing. But we must check the safety of these vehicles. It doesn’t really matter how they are stored, farmers know how to take care of their own equipment,” the head of state said. “But how many farms like that do we have? Maybe, less than 1%. Others will keep begging for financial support to buy a tractor because the beginning of the sowing campaign is just around the corner. And this affects the food security of our state and huge volumes of export. So it’s up to you to decide if you need to keep an eye on the matter.”
At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes it is not necessary to set up new organizations with hundreds of new civil servants “to eradicate mismanagement”. “Do not submit such proposals,” he said. “We have enough auditors at the local level, including chairmen of district executive committees and police chiefs. I am not even speaking about those who are directly involved in the process of monitoring – specialists and directors of those organizations.”
Draft legal acts aimed at the improvement of notarial services were also submitted to the head of state for consideration. The President asked the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court who developed those draft decrees if they were going to take any additional measures to raise the efficiency of notarial services. “The regulation of spheres where the state interacts with citizens should be done is a very cautious way,” he stressed. “Do we lack anything? Do we really need these innovations, or maybe the existing system is obsolete?”
During the meeting, several documents were submitted to the head of state, including draft decrees on additional stimulation of local authorities, on the proposals to improve the bankruptcy procedure and protection of workers' rights, on state surveillance of technical status of tractors and other equipment, on the container deposit system, and on the promotion of electric vehicles. The agenda of the meeting also includes the improvement of notary services, amendments to the standards of duty-free import of goods by individuals.